3 Days, 3 Hikes: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

On Saturday, 05 June, the kids and I went for a hike down into Bryce Canyon National Park. After some research, I chose a combination of the Queens Garden Trail and the Navajo Loop. The western end of the Navajo Loop was closed due to a rockslide, so we lost a bit of that trail. It was a wonderful choice regardless.

We started off at Sunrise Point, after walking down the general store to fill our water bottles and get some snacks (I had two teenagers with me). The view from Sunrise Point is amazing. This first picture is looking back towards the canyon wall, and then looking down towards the floor of the canyon, where we are headed.

We stopped at the trailhead and looked down on the first parts of the trail.

One last look to the northeast. This is the area that the Fairyland Loop Trail traverses. That’s an 8 mile strenuous trip that I will take the next time I’m in Bryce.

This trail down (and up, obviously) is steep, dusty, and slick at spots. There are some deep dropoffs.

The hoodoos and other terrain features are amazing.

It’s kind of hard to tell, but this is one of several small passages cut through the hoodoos to allow the trail to pass.

This next shot, and several other are not color enhanced. The blue of the sky is so intense and in contrast to the reds and oranges of the hoodoos that these look faked or enhanced, but they are not. They are just beautiful.

I loved the “window” in this formation.

These have ex-hoodoos (the piles of dirt) at the bottom. That’s Ian admiring them.

Erin found a little washout.

At the bottom of the canyon, you get a little shade from the trees and the larger rock formations. The trail is packed ash/dust/dirt.

That’s the Moon over this tree, in that beautiful blue sky.

We thought a couple of these formations looked like critter heads.

This was one of the few critters of any kind that we saw.

At a couple places, there were benches made from fallen trees. This was a nice one under a huge boulder. We had a water and snack break.

There were a number of dry watercourses running through the park. There is clearly water there at least every once in a while.

I guess this area is for people to build their own hoodoos… And of course, my creative Erin had to get in on the action.

This was an unusual hoodoo – it was made of several different layers of material. The dot over it is a jet.

This was a “mushroom hoodoo” for Erin.

I thought these looked like round peg and square peg hoodoos.

These trees were kind of precariously growing in this narrow area.

This was the “Two Bridges” formation. It’s not really a bridge, but rather a connection between two walls.

This was a neat chimney formation.

We were on the way up by now, and steadily climbing. This was one of my favorite hoodoos. Again, that brilliant blue sky.

It’s hard to see due to good camouflage, but there is a little bird that was eating seeds on the plant.

Another chimney formation.

This is looking back down a series of switchbacks we came up.

Another set of amazing hoodoos.

We got almost to the top of the trail when we ran into the upper intersection with the Navajo Loop. These are looking back down that trail.

These are looking north from below Sunset Point.

One thing about this shot – you can see Sunrise Point (where we started from) on the far left, near where the trees stop.

This is looking out from Sunset Point. You can see some of the trail we walked down on.

And this is looking down at the trail we came up to Sunset Point on.

Here is an overlay of the GPS points onto a Google Earth map.

Here is an altitude map of the hike.

The GPS reported that this hike was 3.9 miles. The trail brochure claims that it is the most fun 3 mile (really, 2.8 mile) hike on the planet. I don’t know about that, but is was a lot of fun. The hoodoos and other rock formations were amazing. I was also continuously overwhelmed by how blue the sky was, and how the deep blue of the sky was set off against the orange of the hoodoos.

I think that the best time to take this hike is the morning, as the sun is able to light up the east-facing rocks, and it’s a bit softer. Be sure to take water! It’s hot down in the canyon, even at 0900.

We had the only injury of the trip on this hike. Erin slipped on some dust, and then gravel, and barked her shin a bit. Some good soles on your boots or sneakers are a must. I saw two or three people walking down there with flip=flops. Those are OK for the flatter parts of the trail down below, but not on the climbs/descents.

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2 Responses to “3 Days, 3 Hikes: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT”

  1. Index: Family Trip, 30 May-07 Jun 2010 « Bill Hensley’s Random Blog Says:

    […] Bryce Canyon NP […]

  2. Bryce Canyon, UT 63 « Bill Hensley’s Random Blog Says:

    […] took on an entirely different color character with the sun coming form the east. Check out the Bryce Canyon hike post for […]

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